Time for the six questions series to move on to the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. In that round, the Miami Dolphins got aggressive and traded up to the second pick, nabbing running back Lamar Miller with the selection. Miller is the fastest running back to enter this year's draft, and should add another weapon to the Miami offense.
The questions we are using come from the Kansas City Chiefs' general manager Scott Pioli's preparation for a draft. Basically, the Kansas City Chiefs ask themselves six questions about every draft prospect leading up to the draft as retold in Michael Holley's book "War Room." Holley followed three NFL executives, the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick, Atlanta Falcons' Thomas Dimitroff, and the Chiefs' Scott Pioli, as they prepared for the draft several years ago. We are using those six questions to look at the Dolphins' draft picks.
The questions, which are answered below, are:
What will this player's role be as a Chief? | Will the role change from year one to year two? | How many downs can he be expected to play? | Which current player on the roster will he beat out? | What's his value on special teams? | Does he have positional
Now, let's take a look at Miller using these questions:
1 . What will this player's role be as a Dolphin? - This is a question a lot of Miami fans are dying to see answered. How will the new fast-break/west coast offense the Dolphins are supposed to be implementing work, and how will Miller fit into it. Miller comes to Miami with speed like starter Reggie Bush, but adds more size. He's not quite the power back that the team hopes sophomore running back Daniel Thomas will be, but he does have the abiity to take it up the middle, and find success. Miller will need to work on his pass catching and blocking to have long term (read "starter") potential in the next few years, but as a guy who will find himself as the second or third running back on the depth chart, he should be fine as a rookie.
2. Will the role change from year one to year two? - Really, this is a matter of what the Dolphins do with Bush this offseason. Bush is slated to be a free agent after the 2012 season, so whatever happens with the team re-signing the veteran runner will determine what role Miller finds himself filling next year.
3. How many downs can he be expected to play? - While Thomas may be more suited to fill the third down role, both physically and in pass protection, Miller could find great value on third down. His combination of speed and power would provide a running threat up the middle on short yardage, and break away speed on longer situations. Really, Miller will probably find himself as a change of pace, situation runner, at least to start the season.
4. Which current player on the roster will be beat out? - Miller should beat out Steve Slaton, Jerome Messam, Marcus Thigpen, and Jonas Gray, as well as battle with Thomas for the primary backup role.
5. What's his value on special teams? - Miller will probably find a role as the kick returner for the Dolphins, as well as on kick coverage. If his pass protection improves, he could also find himself on punt coverage as the punt protector. With Miller's speed, kick returns make sense.
6. Does he have positional versatility? - Not particularly. Miller is a running back. If he improves his hands, you could see him lining up as a slot wide out in some packages, but he will primarily be behind the quarterback taking handoffs.